National will fast-track Palmerston North ring road

National will begin work on Palmerston’s North’s long-awaited rural ring road within six months of forming Government to stimulate the Manawatū economy and create new jobs, National Party Leader Judith Collins has announced.

On a visit to Palmerston North today with local candidate William Wood and Rangitīkei MP Ian McKelvie, Ms Collins announced National’s commitment to get the first stages of work on this vital project underway immediately.

“Diverting heavy traffic away from Palmerston North’s suburban streets onto this new road will be transformational for the city and the wider Manawatu region,” Ms Collins says.

“Not only will it make Palmerston North safer; it will unlock Manawatū’s economic potential as a distribution hub by providing a better, faster link to national and international markets.”

National estimates the total cost of the ring road will be approximately $200 million. We intended to fully-fund the project from our $31 billion transport package.

The ring road will connect Palmerston North’s distribution hub area (North East Industrial Zone) to the Manawatu Gorge in the east, Bulls to the north, and the state highway network south towards Wellington.

“With an estimated 23,000 vehicle movements a day between Palmerston North and Fielding, this project is long overdue,” Ms Collins says.

“National wants to see freight trucks rumbling along fit-for-purpose highways en route to the North Island’s ports, not hurtling past primary schools on streets they shouldn’t be using.

“Palmerston North City Council has called for this project to start as soon as possible to drive the city’s economic and employment revival. But while the Government is content to sit on its secret list of shovel-ready projects and let construction workers be laid off, National will give the construction sector the certainty its needs to keep staff employed.

“We’re saying it loud and clear – we will build this road and we won’t muck around.”

“Pushing the go button on infrastructure like this will secure jobs in the pre-construction phase. National’s $10,000 JobStart programme will also give businesses confidence to hire new staff, which is vital if they want to expand into new domestic and off-shore markets.

“National is the only party with a plan to deal with the economic and jobs crisis, and get Kiwis back to work.”